Radicchio-usly Easy Salad (with Bleu Cheese and Dijon Dressing)

Radicchio-usly Easy Salad w/Bleu Cheese and Dijon Dressing

  • Servings: 1 meal, 2 sides
  • Difficulty: EASY
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 head radicchio, core removed and cut into small ribbons
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2-3 oz. creamy bleu cheese, like Saint Agur
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Directions

Place the dijon and vinegar in the bottom of the salad’s serving bowl. Whisk with a fork until fully blended. Continue whisking as you pour the olive oil into the mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add radicchio to the bowl and toss with the dressing until coated. Pull the bleu cheese apart with finger into bite-sized pieced and sprinkle over salad. Sprinkle with walnuts. Serve.

And now for the details…

Oh MAN I love this salad. It comes together so quick and easy, I’m almost ashamed to share it. Almost. But it is also one of my favourite salads, so combine the ease of preparation with the satisfying tastiness of this salad, and it would be an absolute shame not to share it.

This salad was inspired by a similar salad we had in Paris at the Bouillon Chartier. Theirs uses endives, but… endives are expensive! The bitter flavour from the endives is mimicked here with the radicchio instead. Mix that bitterness with the salty, creaminess of the bleu cheese, the tang of the dijon dressing, and the crunch of the walnuts, and it is a match made in heaven.

Radicchio can be very bitter. It’s often roasted or grilled to soften the bitterness, or only added sparingly along with other greens for salads. In this case, though, we are embracing and celebrating that bitter flavour in it’s full glory, and pairing it with the other ingredients to provide nice contrasts of flavours and textures.

Without further ado, let’s make this salad! We are going to make everything in the same bowl out of which we will be serving/eating. This is the glorious part about this salad, it comes together so quickly and doesn’t dirty many dishes. It is one of my favourite lunches right now, since I can throw it together quickly, which is something important right now while I am working from home and need something in a hurry.

Start by placing the mustard and vinegar into the bowl, and whisking it with a fork (the same fork you plan on eating with? Why of course!) until the two are fully mixed together.

Next slowly pour the olive oil in with the vinegar and mustard, whisking as you pour, until the dressing is fully mixed and a homogeneous mix. Add salt and pepper to your preferred taste, and mix well.

Cut the core out of the radicchio and discard, then cut the radicchio into small bite-sized ribbons. Add the cut radicchio to the bowl, and toss with the dressing until the radicchio is evenly coated.

Tear the bleu cheese into bite-sized chunks and add them to the salad. This is not a place to be skimpy; use nice, big pieces, and make sure the salad is rife with cheese! Finally, loosely crumbled the toasted walnuts over the salad, and then it’s time to eat!

Happy eating.

Brussel Sprout Caesar Salad (with Vegetarian Option)

Brussel Sprout Caesar Salad

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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A Caesar salad using brussel sprouts. Ingredients marked as optional if you are making this a vegetarian recipe

Ingredients

  • 6 cups (approximately) brussel sprouts, sliced thinly
  • 3 garlic cloves, shredded
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsps red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1/4 lemon)
  • 4 Tbsps olive oil
  • 1/3 cup parmesan, grated
  • 3 slices of prosciutto (optional)
  • (if have omitted anchovy paste and Worcestershire: 1 tsp capers, with brine, smashed into paste)
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsps parmesan flakes, for garnish

Directions

Slice the brussel sprouts thinly with a mandolin or sharp knife. Either in a blender, or a bowl with a whisk, mix the shredded garlic, anchovy paste, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, and lemon juice (and capers, if you’re going vegetarian). Whisk/blend until fully mixed, then slowly add the olive oil, mixing well as you add. Finally, mix in the parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper, to taste. Toss the sprouts with the dressing and set aside for 5-15 minutes. On a grill set to 350ºF/175ºC, or on a pan set to medium heat, cook the prosciutto pieces for approximately 3 minutes on each side. Remove from heat, let cool, then cut into small pieces. Add the prosciutto to the salad and toss. Top with parmesan flakes and fresh ground pepper. Serve.

And now for the details…

In my last post, we had a juicy burger… this post is the accompaniment to that burger. What goes really well with burgers? Coleslaw. But I didn’t feel like coleslaw at the time, and I had brussel sprouts that needed to be used, so instead, the brussel sprout Caesar was born!

The texture in this salad is more similar to coleslaw, but unfortunately, it doesn’t quite keep as one, as we unfortunately found out. The next day, the brussel sprouts had that limp, almost soggy texture that lettuce gets when it’s sat in salad dressing for too long. Not my favourite. So eat this salad on the same day to avoid that!

We start out with prepping the brussel sprouts. Mine were a little forlorn by the time I pulled them out of the fridge to use, so I needed to trim the ends and remove some of the exterior leaves that had gone a bit yellow. I used a sharp knife to get the brussels nice and thin. If you have one, you could use a mandolin. There’s always the option to use a food processor too, but I find the slice on those is much thicker, and not the texture I was going for.

Next we make the salad dressing. Mix the anchovy paste, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, lemon juice and garlic cloves. If you’re making this salad vegetarian, skip the anchovy paste and Worcestershire, and instead add 1 teaspoon of capers with some of the brine, mashed into a paste. Whisk all the ingredients together until fully mixed. Alternatively, you can add all the ingredients to a blender and blend them together.

Once the ingredients have been well mixed, start slowly adding the olive oil, whisking constantly, to allow the dressing to become a homogeneous mix. The mustard acts as an emulsifier here, so it will help to ensure that the oil doesn’t start separating from the rest of the ingredients once the dressing sits.

Finally, we add the shredded parmesan cheese. If you ware whisking, give this a pretty vigorous mix to help break apart the parmesan a bit to get a slightly creamier texture to the dressing.

Wait until you have mixed in the cheese to add your salt and pepper, since the cheese, anchovy paste, and Worcestershire (or capers) are quite salty, so we want to wait until now to do a taste test, then add salt and pepper to your taste preferences, mixing well. Then, we add the dressing to the brussel sprouts.

Mix thoroughly, then set aside for 5-15 minutes to give the brussels some “soak time” in the dressing. While we are waiting, we can cook the prosciutto (obviously you’re going to skip this step if you’re going vegetarian). I cooked the prosciutto on the grill at medium heat (~350ºF/175ºC), since it was already going to cook the burgers, but you can use a pan on the stove heated to medium heat, and cook the prosciutto for about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the heat, then let the pieces cool, and cut them into small, bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle them and the parmesan flakes over the salad.

Give the salad one last toss, top with some more fresh ground pepper, then serve.

Happy eating.

Sesame Crusted Tuna Salad with Ginger-Soy Dressing

Sesame Crusted Tuna Salad with Ginger-Soy Dressing

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsps + 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chicken stock powder
  • 2 Tbsps + 2 Tbsps olive oil.
  • 1 tsp + 1 tsp wasabi paste
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp + 1 tsp fresh ginger, shredded
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, shredded
  • 450g/1 lb ahi tuna
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 8 cups romaine lettuce, torn into pieces
  • 1/4 cups sesame seeds

Directions

Whisk together 2 Tbsps rice wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, chicken stock powder, 2 Tbsps olive oil, sesame oil, 1 tsp ginger and garlic. Toss the lettuce with the dressing. Whisk together 2 Tbsps olive oil, 1 tsp wasabi paste, and 1 tsp rice wine vinegar. Dip the tuna piece into the olive oil mix, then coat with the sesame seeds. Set a pan on the stove to medium-high heat. Turn, searing on all sides. Remove tuna and slice. Place the carrots over the lettuce. Place the tuna pieces over the salad. Mix the 1 tsp wasabi paste, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, and 1 tsp ginger. Drizzle the soy mixture over the tuna. Serve.

And now for the details…

There is something so right about tuna, sesame, ginger and soy. These flavours just seemed to be made for each other. Add in the slightly spicy kick of wasabi, and it is a match made in heaven.

The best part of this recipe? It can come together fairly quickly, too, so a great option for a weekday evening.

Mix together the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon wasabi paste, and 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar. Dip the tuna into the olive oil mix, coating the tuna on all sides.

Next we will be mixing together the salad dressing. We are going to whisk the 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1/2 tsp powdered chicken stock, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon grated ginger, 1 grated garlic clove, and some fresh ground pepper. I added some sesame seeds to the dressing as well for added texture.

Sprinkle sesame seeds over all the sides of the tuna. Place the tuna on a pan heated to medium-high heat, and turn the piece of tuna every couple minutes, searing the tuna on all sides. Remove the tuna and slice the tuna into pieces.

Toss the lettuce with the salad dressing in a large serving platter. Place the carrots over the lettuce. Top with the tuna pieces.

Finally, whisk together the 1 teaspoon wasabi paste, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 teaspoon grated ginger, and drizzle over the tuna. Serve immediately.

Happy eating.